Two stone giants sat upon a drab grey mountainside, picking moss off each other’s backs. It had been raining for five days straight and they were both in very low spirits.
‘Wish it’d clear up,’ said Gombre, looking wistfully at the moody sky. ‘I’m sick of this green fluff growing all over us.’
‘Aye,’ said Grimble, finding a new patch of green upon his friend’s shoulder. ‘Can’t take it anymore – I’m soaked right through!’
The rain continued to pelt down. Grimble and Gombre tried to get a fire going, but their efforts were futile.
‘Can’t even cook our food,’ moaned Gombre. ‘Raw rabbit just don’t taste the same as cooked.’
‘Terrible, ain’t it?’ said Grimble, staring at his sodden limbs. ‘I’m as wet as a river bank.’
Without warning, the rain stopped. The two stone giants looked around in surprise, unable to believe that the downpour had ended so suddenly.
‘Thank goodness for that!’ Gombre cried.
‘Now we can get a fire going!’ said Grimble, picking up his tinder box. ‘Celebrate with a nice rabbit stew.’
‘Mmm – I like your thinking!’
As they set to work lighting the fire, the clouds began to disperse and the sun shone upon them, helping to dry off their rocky flanks. And then the most amazing thing happened…
‘Look Grimble!’ cried Gombre, gawping at the colourful arch that had appeared across the sky. ‘What do you suppose that is?’
‘Don’t know,’ said Grimble, scratching his head.
The two stone giants had never seen colour quite like it. The multicoloured arch stretched all the way across the eastern horizon. Gombre reached out towards it and to his great surprise, he plucked it right out of the sky. It fell on to him like a shimmering rope.
Grimble edged towards it, his eyes wide with awe. ‘That’s the most beautiful thing I’ve seen in my whole life.’
‘Aye,’ said Gombre, holding the colourful rope in his grey hands. ‘More beautiful than the Mountain Goddess.’
‘Don’t be blasphemous now, brother,’ warned Grimble. ‘Old Nanny-Bird taught us to respect the Gods.’
‘But it is pretty though,’ said Gombre, admiring the rope’s many hues. ‘A beautiful gift after all that rain.’
‘What should we do with it?’ asked Grimble, for the rope was indeed pretty, but he could see no practical uses for it.
Gombre pondered for a moment. He then chuckled to himself and searched for the ends of the rope.
‘What you doing?’ Grimble asked him.
‘You’ll see,’ said Gombre, fumbling with the rope. He eventually found the ends and began to skip. The ground shook every time his large bulk crashed down and the multi-coloured rope was a spinning blur of colour. As he skipped, golden sparks flew off it.
Grimble eyed the magical rope with envy. ‘Can I have a go?’
‘Not yet, brother,’ said Gombre, who was having far too much fun with his new toy. ‘You get started with the rabbit stew. Then you can have a go!’
‘All right then,’ conceded Grimble, sloping off to cook dinner. He sat hunched on the dull mountainside, watching his friend dance with a whole spectrum of vibrant colours.
After a while, Grimble lost patience. But then Gombre needed to catch his breath and passed the rope over to him. Grimble took the rope in his hands and immediately began to skip with it. Golden sparks flew everywhere.
‘Didn’t know such colours existed,’ said Grimble, giddy with excitement. ‘Feels like I’m dreaming.’
‘Aye,’ said Gombre, coming over with his hand outstretched. ‘Give it back now, Grimble.’
‘But that’s not fair!’ Grimble protested. ‘I’ve only had it for two seconds!’
‘It belongs to me!’ shouted Gombre, snatching the rope from him. ‘I plucked it out of the sky!’
‘Give it back!’ cried Grimble, wrestling with his friend. ‘Don’t be greedy!’
The two stone giants brawled upon the mountainside, tugging at the rope and throwing punches at each other. The ground shook as they thrashed around upon it.
Suddenly, a large crow swooped down from the peaks above and circled around them. The two giants were too enthralled in their fight to even notice that she was there.
‘Stop this squabbling at once!’ demanded the crow, pecking at their heads. ‘The heavens bless you with a fine gift and here you are fighting over it like a pair of dogs – how shameful!’
The giants stopped what they were doing and looked up at her with remorse. ‘We’re sorry, Old Nanny-Bird.’
‘So you should be!’ the crow squawked. ‘Now put this nonsense to bed and make friends.’
Grimble and Gombre glanced at each other, realising the error of their ways. They decided to share the rope and it stayed at their camp for many moons, bringing colour to a place that very much needed it. Every time they used it to skip, golden sparks would fly off it and new worlds would be born.